ENDING THE AARON RODGERS AND GREEN BAY PACKERS SAGA

BY ADAM GREENE

It’s the offseason drama that will not die, even though it’s probably killing Green Bay Packers fans all over the country. We’re a week away from the Pack opening camp and future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers is nowhere in sight and, seemingly, has no desire to attend that camp.

For their part, at least Green Bay brass has actively stopped saying stupid things in public making everything worse.

News broke Tuesday morning that, in an effort to appease Rodgers, the Packers offered him a two-year contract extension that would have kept him in Green Bay for the next five seasons and made him the highest paid quarterback in the league. Rodgers turned it down. Money is not going to solve this problem.

So what will?

First, something needs to be understood. Because Rodgers understands this and it’s at the core of his impasse with the team; THIS WAS THE PACKERS’ PLAN ALL ALONG.

Rodgers just screwed it up by having one of the best seasons of his career. When Green Bay drafted Jordan Love without informing their current All-Universe quarterback that they were doing it, they set this in motion. They were preparing to move on from Rodgers and, if they’d gone 10-6 and he’d tossed 26 TDs and 12 INTs last season, there would be no issue in showing him the door. But he didn’t. He won the MVP, threw 48 TDs with just five picks and got the team to its second straight 13-3 regular season record and NFC Championship trip.

The Pack traded up for Love, didn’t let Rodgers in on it, and poisoned him for good. Now, all he’s asking for is the plan that Green Bay themselves put into motion actually happens. Suddenly, the Packers aren’t so keen on doing that.

The franchise has done so much to screw this up, including its extension offer to Rodgers. If he’d signed it, then it would have spanned the entirety of Jordan Love’s rookie contract, meaning that he would have killed four years of his NFL career for nothing, gotten to show zilch, and would have hit the market as a free agent with practically no NFL film. Even if Rodgers does move on now, what’s Love got to think about that?

Green Bay has managed to cause a potential issue with its future quarterback while ruining its relationship with its current QB. They should write textbooks on this era of Packers management on how to do absolutely everything wrong.

Now, there are plenty of competing ideas on how the Pack can conceivably solve this problem for at least this season. We’ll look at them all in depth. They could…

CALL RODGERS BLUFF, DO NOTHING AND PLAY LOVE IF THEY HAVE TO

This one seems a popular pick to the former NFL front office personnel on your ESPNs and NFL Networks and such. It’s easily the dumbest option, which explains why those morons are talking in zoom squares on your TV right now instead of actually working for NFL teams.

The idea here is that a couple of things happen… Green Bay plays Love, he does well, and no one cares what happens with Rodgers while he sits on his Barcalounger and prepares Jeopardy questions. Maybe they pull a deadline trade (ala Carson Palmer) and no one in the Packers braintrust gets fired.

Or… Rodgers blinks, shows up in camp or at the start of the regular season and they push all this drama to next offseason.

Or… They start 0-3 and Rodgers rides in to save the day after the team capitulates to trade him or set him free next offseason.

All of these options are flatly stupid. Here’s the main problem – Rodgers isn’t the whole team. Yes, your quarterback is your most important player, but letting anything like this fester into the season is a sure fire distraction and title run killer. The Pack currently sit at +800 at winning the NFC and much of that has to do with the Rodgers drama. This is obviously a championship caliber team, but even this nonsense has hit them in the odds. They’re currently fourth behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+300), Los Angeles Rams (+700) and San Francisco 49ers (+700).

It’s a cancerous tumor and there’s no way it doesn’t blow up in their face, regardless of how any of the “show up or don’t, A-Aron” plans pan out. If Love is the guy, let him be the guy. He doesn’t need to be looking over his shoulder just because he has a bad game.

MAKE A DEAL WITH RODGERS WHERE HE’S DEFINITELY TRADED OR CUT NEXT OFFSEASON

Early on, this one probably could have worked. Rodgers has a much friendlier cap number to move on from next season. While the trade promise might have done the trick, I believe wholeheartedly that if Green Bay promised to cut him loose and let him be a free agent, determining his own path like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning did, there would be peace in the valley right now.

It might be too late for that, but I feel like this is the only realistic way the Packers are going to get Rodgers back on the field this season without all the drama mentioned above. I don’t think a trade promise cuts it anymore.

TRADE RODGERS NOW, GET WHAT YOU CAN AND GO ALL IN WITH LOVE

Sometimes a divorce is good for everyone. I’m no salary cap expert and don’t get paid to be, but the Packers should have one on their team. They could renegotiate a contract with Rodgers that makes him tradable this season and then pull the trigger, sending him to the highest bidder to get whatever they can.

Rodgers is happy. Love gets handed the keys and you move on. There is no long term answer that has Rodgers on the team. Get used to it. Lean into it. And get whatever return you can.

But, make no mistake, this one comes with a downside. Rodgers is going to be fine wherever he goes. That’s not what’ll doom Green Bay’s front office to the unemployment line. Nope, what will is if Love crashes and burns. No one is going to expect the Packers to go 13-4 with Love as the starter, but a losing record will get plenty of people fired.

And it should, because these people put in the work on Love. They evaluated him coming into the 2020 NFL Draft and felt that he was not only worth trading up to grab, but pissing off their current QB in the process. If Love turns out to be garbage, they should all be out of work anyway just for wasting the pick and causing all this trouble.

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